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Columbia commission approves two park improvement projects

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission voted to recommend two park improvement projects to the city council Thursday.

The proposals are to make improvements to Douglass Park and Atkins Park.

If the council approves the plans, the two projects would cost $800,000. The funding would come out of the park sales tax voters approved in November 2015.

Phase Two of the Douglass Park project will cost $225,000. Improvements would include a renovated playground, as the current playground has bad drainage issues, according to Park Services Manager Gabe Huffington. It will also include a 4,500 square foot skate spot, some walkway improvements and the addition of a small shelter.

Since Phase One of the renovations at the park were completed, reports of crimes in the park have gone down significantly, Huffington said.

“We’ll be able to replace a 25-year-old playground, a 25-year-old shelter and so we’ll really be able to finish out that park, the amenities and you know things that people want to go to that park and use on a daily basis,” Huffington said.

But the funding for the two projects will not be able to pay for additional lighting or parking at Douglass Park. Huffington said Parks and Recreation could use annual park funds to add those things in the future.

You can view plans for the Douglass Park improvements here.

Phase Three of the Atkins Park project would cost $575,000. Improvements would include construction of two baseball fields, some batting cages, a playground and more.

Before the commission meeting, the Columbia Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs and others heard feedback from members of the public on the Atkins Park proposal.

“They like the idea of making them unique fields,” Griggs said. “You know when somebody says hey let’s go play in Columbia, that has that factor, you know that ‘it’ factor, that something different that sets it aside from all the other complexes in Mid-America.”

You can view plans for the Atkins Park improvements here.

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